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Life's Unexpected

I wonder… is life really supposed to be happy?

Is happiness the goal? A deserved necessity? A reward for good behavior?

I saw an article on Facebook the other week that intimated that if you aren't happy, it's your fault because we have the power to control our level of happiness.

I question the credibility of that position.

I do believe we have some control over our internal thoughts and feelings like choosing to dwell on what is pure, right, and lovely — choosing to find the best in situations and others — being mindful and deliberate in seeking the positive over the negative in life. However, I don't think anyone will dispute that there is so much in our life that is simply outside of our control. The unexpected that hovers waiting to rip happiness right out of your hands.

Unexpected tragedy.

Unexpected illness.

Unexpected accident.

Unexpected job loss.

Unexpected death.

Unexpected betrayal.

Unexpected outcome.

The unexpected.

A day at the seashore brought this idea of the unexpected and how it impacts our happiness front and center. When faced with the ocean, it is difficult for your mind not to be focused on the glory of God and the meaning of life. So, on this particular picture-perfect day at the beach with a cloudless blue sky and sunshine sparkling on every wave as my backdrop, I contemplate life with its ebbs and flows, rhythm and routines and even the unexpected currents.

I determine that life can be both beautiful and cruel.

I marvel over the unexpected discovery of a starfish that my six-year-old granddaughter finds and rescues- returning the beautiful creature to the sea. It is a delightful display of life and kindness.

I also dwell upon the unexpected loss of a dear friend at the young age of 56. A precious life extinguished after a twenty+ year-long battle with cancer. A beautiful life that was filled with a mixture of ebbs and flows between happiness and sorrow- delight and pain; a life marked by a love of Christ, service to others and a spirit of resilience despite the disastrous invasion.

Both illustrate the steadfast love of God. His love of life, creation, and us. Lamentations 3:22 reminds us that "the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end." As we experience the unexpected in this life with its equal mix of joys and sorrows may we remember to cling to God's endless mercies. To hold fast to the knowledge that we are never alone, never abandoned, never discarded, and never forgotten.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.” ~ Psalm 138:7

Much like the ocean, life is filled with ups and downs. Yet, God's hands are capable of reaching us even in our lowest and darkest places. When we look to Him- rescue, provision, and protection are found.

Life was never designed to be filled solely with happiness-

the unexpected currents in life have a valuable purpose-

they bring us closer to God.

Father, thank you for your steadfast love and for your mercies that endure forever. May we exalt you Lord during every phase of life- in both the ebbs and flows of joys and sorrows. Your hands reach us in every circumstance and provide guidance, protection, and provision. We praise you because it is in the unexpected that we can be returned to you.

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, Oh Lord, endures forever.” ~Psalm 138:8

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